Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Sec. Clinton says a deal on settlements is possible and stresses the importance of negotiations. The Israeli government purchases the @israel twitter identity from a Spanish pornographer. Roger Cohen says most Israelis are uninterested in the peace talks. Residents of a West Bank settlement worry about their future. Israelis are not sure what to expect from their own leadership. The CSM says there is no Israeli consensus on settlements. Palestinians deny there is a crisis in the talks and say they will focus on land, borders and security. A new report says peace is the key to Palestinian economic revival. Israelis complain that a Palestinian “all or nothing” attitude is hampering talks. Israeli authorities in Jerusalem are considering more than 1,000 new settler housing units. A new report says settlers receive 22% more budgetary allocations than other Israelis. Another report says Israeli soldiers are rarely accountable for Palestinian civilian deaths. Nahum Barnea says PM Netanyahu has retreated to a zero-sum mentality. The Israeli military confirms that two Gazans killed in shelling on Sunday were “not terrorists.” Gershon Baskin says a creative deal on settlements is possible. Osama Al Sharif says there is grave danger for the region in not achieving a peace agreement.

Hillary Clinton headed to Mideast for talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Laura Rozen<br /> - September 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launches an intense week of Middle East diplomacy in Egypt Tuesday, joining Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for their next round of face-to-face peace talks. She begins in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, then plans to move on to Jerusalem on Wednesday and the West Bank and Jordan on Thursday.

Israel and Palestinian Leaders Extend Egypt Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler<br /> - September 14, 2010 - 12:00am

The leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority held nearly two hours of face-to-face talks in this Red Sea resort on Tuesday in a second round of negotiations that delved into the core issues dividing them but did not yet break an impasse over Jewish settlements. President Obama’s special representative to the Middle East, George J. Mitchell, said he was encouraged by the overall direction of the talks but declined to say whether the two sides made any progress on a dispute over Israel’s moratorium on settlement construction, due to expire on Sept. 26.

After Negotiations, Israel Emerges on Twitter
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner<br />, Raphael Minder - September 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel has acquired the user name @israel on Twitter, the microblogging Internet service, from the Spanish owner of a pornographic Web site, in an unusual transaction intended to help Israel exercise more influence over its image. The owner of the user name, Israel Meléndez, got it in 2007, when Twitter was in its infancy. He struggled to use his account, however, because every posting prompted a flood of anti-Semitic or anti-Israel comments from Twitter users, in a case of mistaken identity.

Peace Talks? What’s on TV?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Roger Cohen<br /> - (Opinion) September 13, 2010 - 12:00am

I recently went to a dinner here hosted by a charming Israeli couple, just back from Umbria with assorted Italian delicacies, and found the guests riveted not by the ritual of a new round of U.S.-mediated peace talks but by the climax of “A Star is Born.” We all rushed from the table to see 18-year-old Diana Golbi — a Russian immigrant born Diana Golbanova in Moscow — belt out her winning song on the Israeli version of “American Idol.” The runner-up, a Sephardic commander in the Israel Defense Forces named Idan Amedi, looked to the heavens and thanked God for second place.

Clinton stresses urgency of Mideast talks despite focus on settlement moratorium
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Glenn Kessler<br /> - September 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, making her first plunge into Middle East peacemaking, said she will prod Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week to press forward with talks, even with the Israeli moratorium on settlements expiring this month.

Israeli enclave thrust into debate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg<br /> - September 13, 2010 - 12:00am

From the four-lane highway linking central Israel to this sprawling settlement town on the West Bank, drivers can see the distant towers of Tel Aviv and, beyond them, the shimmering sea. The enclave of Ariel, with its red-roofed homes, state-of-the art sports complex and tidy streets and parks, looks like an ordinary Israeli town, and feels that way to many of its 19,000 residents.

Netanyahu's embrace of peace talks keeps Israelis guessing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders <br /> - September 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Israelis have seen it before. A hawkish leader expected to be tough on the Palestinian issue instead embarks on a game-changing path to end the conflict. Menachem Begin did it. So did Yitzhak Rabin. Ariel Sharon split apart his right-wing Likud Party by withdrawing from the Gaza Strip.

Why the Israeli 'consensus' on settlements is not so simple
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick<br /> - September 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Responding to calls from President Barack Obama to extend an Israeli settlement freeze in the West Bank, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted this weekend for the first time that he's open to new limits on building after the Sept. 26 expiration.

Sha'ath: Key issues on Sharm agenda
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 14, 2010 - 12:00am

The second round of negotiations in Egypt will focus on land, borders and security, said member of the Palestinian negotiations team Nabil Sha'ath on Tuesday, as officials and leaders arrive in the coastal resort town ahead of talks. Sha'ath said reports that the talks in Sharm Ash-Sheikh will focus on Israel security matters solely were false, adding in a statement that "there is no security without the land and the borders and they know this very well."

Bringing the Palestinian economy out of recession
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) September 14, 2010 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The potential for the Palestinian economy to rise out of the recession caused by the outbreak of the Second Intifada and a dramatic increase in per capita GDP are deeply entrenched in the success of talks. "Economy is related to politics. There is no way one can sustain complete economic growth without complete stability in politics," says Jawad Sayyed Al-Herbawi, the adviser to the mayor of Hebron and a business development expert.

Palestinian 'all or nothing' strategy paralyzing peace talks, Israeli officials warn
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid<br /> - September 14, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinians' "all or nothing" strategy of insisting on a total freeze on West Bank settlement construction risks paralyzing Middle East peace talks in their infancy, officials close to the heart of negotiations warned Tuesday. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Egypt for a second round of negotiations, senior officials inside Netanyahu's office said they expected the Palestinians to avoid extreme responses that could derail the U.S.-sponsored peace process.

East Jerusalem housing plans cast new shadow over Israel-Palestinian peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson<br /> - September 14, 2010 - 12:00am

In a move that could strike a blow at already fragile peace talks, Jerusalem city planners will in the coming weeks discuss a scheme to build over a thousand housing units beyond the Green Line, Haaretz learned on Tuesday. At a U.S.-mediated summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, aides to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said talks were being conducted in a "good atmosphere".

Settlers receive 22% more budget grants than other Israelis, probe shows
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson<br /> - (Analysis) September 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Every Israeli settlement in the West Bank, including those that are relatively well-off, is entitled to receive a "balancing grant" from the Interior Ministry to help it balance its budget, even though such grants mainly exist to help less well-off communities.

Report: Palestinian civilians' deaths go unpunished
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked<br /> - September 14, 2010 - 12:00am

he Israel Defense Forces policy of refraining from thoroughly investigating the wrongful deaths of Palestinian civilians absolved IDF soldiers from such action even when criminal charges should be brought against them, B'Tselem said. The conclusion is at the core of a new report by the human rights group, released Tuesday, which said that soldiers who kill Palestinian civilians are rarely prosecuted, even when circumstances clearly indicate foul play.

Netanyahu and the freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Nahum Barnea<br /> - (Opinion) September 13, 2010 - 12:00am

You screwed up, Netanyahu can say to Barack Obama following the president’s call over the weekend to extend the settlement construction freeze. The construction was frozen for a limited period of time – 10 months. The American Administration chose to accept this timeframe. It cannot show regret as this period draws to an end and ask for more. It’s not serious or credible.

PM, Clinton and Abbas discuss freeze in Sharm e-Sheikh
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon<br /> - September 14, 2010 - 12:00am

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday sat down with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Sharm e-Sheikh, Egypt to tackle the most immediate dispute between the two sides: a soon-to-expire curb on new construction for Israeli settlements in the West Bank. No press conference was held prior to the beginning of the meeting. A determination to make the peace talks work was expressed by Israeli officials accompanying Netanyahu on Tuesday to the second round of direct peace talks with Abbas.

IDF: 2 Gazans killed at border Sunday were not terrorists
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz<br /> - September 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Two Palestinians killed on Sunday by IDF fire along the Gaza border were not engaged in terrorist activity but were standing next to a Palestinian who was pointing a loaded RPG at the Israeli military force, an investigation of the incident has revealed. The incident took place Sunday evening when troops deployed along the security fence spotted a man pointing a loaded RPG in their direction. Earlier in the day, the IDF detected a number of people who had also approached the security fence in the area, and soldiers fired several warning shots.

Encountering Peace: Two rights don’t make a wrong
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin<br /> - (Opinion) September 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Yes, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is right – why should Israel continue the settlement freeze; after all, everyone knows Gilo will never be Palestinian. Ramot Eshkol will not be part of the Palestinian capital of al-Kuds, nor will Pisgat Ze’ev? Palestinians should understand that there are certain facts that will not be undone. The Jewish Quarter of the Old City and the Western Wall will remain under Israeli sovereignty in any peace agreement; without this, there can be no peace and certainly the Palestinians should realize this by now.

Risky business of making peace in the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Osama Al-Sharif<br /> - September 14, 2010 - 12:00am

The risky business of forging peace between Israel and the Palestinians through a negotiated settlement has resumed after almost three years of forced interruption. But few on either side are hopeful. The one-year process of direct negotiations under United States auspices aimed at concluding a final status agreement and the birth of a Palestinian state has its critics, and sceptics, on both sides of the divide and beyond. In fact few believe that this latest round of talks will lead to an historic deal. The chasm is simply too wide.

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